THE UK Government is preparing a new flight to take asylum seekers to Rwanda after its planned inaugural flight was cancelled following a last-ditch intervention from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The grounded flight that was set to take off on Tuesday was due to take up to seven people to Rwanda and was chartered at an estimated cost of £500,000.

And following the successful application to the ECHR from lawyers representing asylum seekers to halt the flight, the Government is already preparing a replacement.

Commenting on the ruling, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said her government was “surprised and disappointed” but that "lawyers in the Home Office are already working on the next steps".

She added: "I know officials will already be preparing for the next flight."

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In its ruling, the ECHR said that an Iraqi man known as KN would face "a real risk of irreversible harm" if he stayed on the flight.

Coffey said that it was important the Government consider the ECHR’s decision but that ministers would “rigorously defend the policy”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel also said she was disappointed by the decision and that “preparation for the next flight begins now”.

“I have always said this policy will not be easy to deliver and am disappointed that legal challenge and last-minute claims have meant today’s flight was unable to depart," she told the media.

“It is very surprising that the European Court of Human Rights has intervened despite repeated earlier success in our domestic courts.

“These repeated legal barriers are similar to those we experience with other removals flights and many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next.

“We will not be deterred from doing the right thing and delivering our plans to control our nation’s borders."

The lawyer representing the lead case before the ECHR, Geoffrey Robertson QC, said: "One of the things that makes Britain great … is that we will abide by international courts and international law."

The ECHR, based in Strasbourg, is not a body under the European Union but is an organ of the Council of Europe, of which the UK is still a member.

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Speaking to the BBC, Robertson said the Government would have a variety of choices in its bid to get around the decision, including asking the ECHR to lift the measure, contesting the judicial review or passing a new law in Parliament.

He also said that “lawyers at many chambers” appealed to the ECHR over the case and that it had decided the Government should suspend deportations "until the judicial review had concluded and had approved the lawfulness of the policy".

Robertson added: "So it shouldn't have come as any surprise to the Government because it's well known that when domestic remedies in the British courts are exhausted you can go to the European court."